Ontario delays enforcement on lift axle switch

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is once again delaying a requirement for emergency lift axle override controls within Safe, Productive, Infrastructure-Friendly (SPIF) vehicle configurations.

“In response to an in-cab emergency override control manufacturer’s difficulty in finalizing testing and providing a proper solution, the ministry will further extend the current enforcement deferral of the regulations governing the in-cab emergency override controls until Dec. 31, 2022,” the ministry has said in a notice to several stakeholders. “This will give time for the manufacturer to finalize their solution.”

SPIF lift axle
Ontario’s SPIF configurations make use of self-steering lift axles. (Wheel Monitor photo)

The regulatory update allows an in-cab switch to lift self-steering axles in emergency situations, but the option requires an independent switch that also activates four-way flashers at the same time.

Enforcement was first delayed in late 2019 to give manufacturers a chance to pilot the technology designed to offer extra traction at relatively low speeds.

Under the SPIF rules, the axles will need to lift as soon as the switch is activated, and the override must be limited to speeds of less than 60 km/h. The controls must also be limited to the forward self-steering axle on a semi-trailer, or a truck’s self-steering axle or forced-steer auxiliary pusher axle. The self-steering axle must fully deploy when the truck stops, when power is turned off, or withing three minutes of the switch being activated.

The increased complexity of digital dashboards has made it more difficult to introduce such a switch, which would not be required in other jurisdictions.

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  • Not surprising the debate (remote switch for lift axles) that this should still exist. Academics intellectuals at DOT and their consultants, still refuse to acknowledge the daily practice of safely operating a tractor semi-trailers in the field. Time they began to trust the veracity of the operator and put pay to SPIF period.

  • Limited to 60 km/h still doesn’t come up with a legal way for those of us that run northern Ontario. We need to be able to lift it at the bottom of the hill while running our speed up so that we can make it to the top of a snowy steep grade. Plus I really don’t need something timing out when my drive tires are pawing for traction as it is. Let the good driver’s do the driving. Government is sitting in my passenger seat too much as it is.

  • I lift/drop my axel steady in deep mud and snow to give me better weight on my steering or on my drives for traction .. snow storms , up hills in slushy or muddy mill yards .. the more options and control a driver had the better ! You automate a truck too much you get too many complacent drivers watching movies hitting the ditch ! Take a drive in northern Ontario .. winter or summer 98% the trucks in the ditch are automatic with all the safety automatic features.. you dummy proof a truck … you get more dummy’s driving ! Make Az standard only again! You will see better drivers in tune with the rig.. not feet on dash watching movies .